"The Simpsons" first debuted in 1989 and is the longest-running animated series. Take a look at more facts about popular TV shows on the next page.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld's self-titled show mastered the successful sitcom formula and was also launched in 1989. TV Guide ranks "Seinfeld" as one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
Vivian Vance, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and William Frawley hold a tuna fishing contest on an episode of "I Love Lucy". The sitcom was the highest rated TV show from 1952-1955 and some consider it the top sitcom in the history of television.
Considered to be the most popular show in the 1980s by TV Guide, "The Cosby Show" first aired in 1984. It was originally pitched to ABC and was rejected, but went on to be a hit at NBC.
Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson evaluate singers on "American Idol". According to Nielsen ratings, the show is tied with the "Cosby Show" and "All in the Family" as having the most consecutive seasons rated as number one.
Two years before "American Idol", "Survivor" launched reality TV in the United States in May 2000. The original version was a Swedish reality series called "Expedition Robinson", which premiered in 1997.
One of the more popular and current TV shows is "The Big Bang Theory", which follows the lives of two physicists and their friends. In 2010 it won the People's Choice Award for best comedy.
In the drama category, "Mad Men" was the first basic cable series to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. The cast is pictured here after winning the award in 2011. The show also won in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
"The Walking Dead" premiered in 2010 and has become the most popular basic cable television show in history with men 18-34.
"Friends" premiered in 1994 and when it ended in 2004, it was one of the most watched series finales. The six main actors all got paid $1 million per episode in the ninth and tenth seasons.
The series finale of "Cheers" in 1982 was also one of the most-watched finales of all time. The show ran eleven seasons, and one of the show's characters, Frasier, became the focus of a new sitcom that lasted another eleven seasons.
"The Sopranos" is one of the most financially successful cable series to date. It premiered on HBO in 1999 as a story about a modern-day mob boss.
In 2009 "Family Guy" was the first animated series since the Flintstones to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The cast from "House M.D." pose during the People's Choice Awards 2010. It was one of the most watched television program in the world in 2008.
"Heroes" was one of the most popular TV shows of the 2006-2007 season. It tells the story of ordinary people who find out they have extraordinary powers.
"Who Wants to Be a Millionare" had an average of 28 million viewers in the 1999-2000 season, making it the most-watched game show in history. It has aired in over 100 countries, also making it the most popular television franchise.
"E.R." was one of the longest-running medical dramas of all time, and one of the most expensive TV shows. Actors Anthony Edwards and Noah Wyle earned around $2 million for each hour of the television show.
On the air since 1954, "The Tonight Show" is the longest-running entertainment program. Jay Leno returned as host after Conan O'Brien briefly took over the reigns in 2009. Before Leno, Johnny Carson hosted for 30 years.
As for daytime TV, "Guiding Light" is the longest-running drama and soap opera in TV history. It began as a radio show in 1937 and moved to TV in 1952. It was inspired by on-air sermons of Preston Bradley.
Beating out "Guiding Light" and "The Tonight Show", "Meet the Press" is the longest-running TV show of all time. It debuted in November 1947, with Tim Russert serving as moderator from 1991 to 2008. To learn more, see the TV Shows Channel or test your knowledge with the Classic TV Quiz.